The maker movement is poised to transform K12 learning. Makerspaces—workshop areas that provide tools and raw materials for students to invent, create, collaborate and learn—reinforce STEM skills and enable more authentic learning. While there are a variety of ways to design and build makerspaces, there are some key strategies administrators can employ to ensure their program is successful.
More assessment data is available to district leaders than ever before, providing insights into student learning throughout the school year and at the individual student, classroom, school and district levels. However, all of this data will not have a positive impact unless district leaders have a clear strategy to use the insights gained from assessments to inform crucial decisions.
With the modernization of E-rate and the increase in available funding for school districts, many administrators face a strategic choice when it comes to their network. Some districts may choose a managed service through a third-party vendor, while others want to keep their network managed in-house by district staff. There are pros and cons to each model and several key considerations every district should examine before making this important IT decision.
Blended learning is having a positive impact in schools and districts across the country, but there are a number of key strategies that can advance blended learning to its next generation of even greater effectiveness and improved achievement. The formula for driving active learning comes from the synergy of blending three key elements: product design, instructional design and school design.
Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) is in the middle of a multiyear transformation known as S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow). Initiated in 2013, the goal of S.T.A.T. is ambitious: To cultivate a 21st century technology learning environment for its 111,000 students that prepares globally competitive graduates.
Administrators have a variety of responsibilities in managing a district, but certain tasks can be burdensome and can distract from the core mission of the school system. Purchasing, deploying and managing learning resources such as textbooks and other materials are time-consuming and costly tasks that can weigh down administrators.
While administrators have access to more performance data than ever before, too often they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and are unable to use it strategically, and student performance data is stored in ways that prevent it from being used to inform important decisions.
The number and variety of courses that can be offered in a small rural district is often limited. That was not acceptable to Erik Belcher, superintendent of Fayette Local School District in northwest Ohio.
Audio plays a crucial role in making collaborative student learning environments effective. Students need to be able to communicate with their teacher when necessary, and teachers should be able to hear what all students are saying during small group instruction.
When the projectors throughout the Phoenix Union High School District were found to be outdated and inefficient in 2013, administrators knew they were due for an upgrade. “During a larger initiative to increase student engagement across the district, I noticed that the projectors we had were so old and were so dim that it was impacting classroom management and student engagement,” says Don Fournier, the district’s division manager of information services.
With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards, it became apparent that all students in Placentia-Yorba Linda USD in Orange County needed better keyboarding, higher order thinking and information fluency skills in order to perform well on the Smarter Balanced assessment.
When Michael Lubelfeld came to Deerfield Public Schools District 109 (Ill.) last summer, the superintendent known as a super-communicator knew that engaging students was crucial to their education. So the new superintendent leveraged the district’s technology, including school administration software, to keep students in regular contact with teachers, administrators and each other.
With FCC changes to the E-rate program, districts can increase spending on Wi-Fi connectivity. The ability to purchase managed Wi-Fi is another recent change. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 17, 2014, featured an industry expert, as well as two district technology directors, who discussed key considerations for technology planning around the new Wi-Fi E-rate regulations.
The New Lenox School District 122 serves 5,400 pre-K through grade 8 students in 12 schools, and is located about 30 miles outside Chicago. The district has been noted for its high levels of achievement, with an average of 85 percent of students meeting or exceeding the Illinois Learning Standards in each of the last nine years.
When Linda Quinn became superintendent of Washington’s Ferndale School District in 2009, it was the start of a new era for the district, one that included some unprecedented challenges.